Economic Impact
Feasibility Study

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Economic Impact Feasibility Study sponsored by:

TOURseky logo.


 Mt. Parkway Trails logo.

The following document is a synopsis of the Feasibility Study conducted by CERTEC, Inc., Lexington, KY. CERTEC is a professional, well respected Marketing firm.

The Feasibility Study was a project initiated by the Mountain Parkway Trails Corridor (Estill, Lee, Magoffin, Owsley, Powell and Wolfe Counties of Kentucky) and paid for by Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association (SEKTDA), a division of the Center for Rural Development, Somerset, KY.

The numbers generated by the report are truly staggering- in the good way. From an economic development point of view, the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument is a spectacularly good idea and an amazingly sound investment. And, as Tom says, "It's an economic development project that is not moving to Mexico in a couple of years."

The problem with a synopsis, as Brother Glenn points out, is, "What is left out?" Fair enough. The only thing of importance omitted was the caveat in the proposal that assumed we were going to receive the $6 million that was submitted by SEKTDA as a Special Congressional Request. And who knows? We may indeed get it. But the caveat was in relation to the time frame in which the Monument could be built- not to the numbers, both money and jobs, that the finished Monument would generate.

Logo of Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument. 

Synopsis of

Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument

Economic Impact Feasibility Study


Prepared for:

Southern and Eastern Kentucky

Tourism Development Association (SEKTDA)

Somerset, Kentucky



Certec, Inc.

111 West Short Street

Lexington, KY 40507

(859) 225-5919

This document of highlights is compiled from the original Certec, Inc. report by David Musser, Project Director, Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument. Complete Study on file at SEKTDA Office.

Executive Summary

      The proposed project is economically feasible. This is based on the overall analysis, which assumes the primary grant will be received in a timely manner and the project management succeeds in carrying out the detailed recommendations presented in the report.

      The Heritage Monument would be a major landmark (Magnet Attraction) for Eastern Kentucky. Its size and quality as a work of art along with its links to Eastern Kentucky music, arts, and crafts will have a very positive impact on the image of Eastern Kentucky.

      The Heritage Monument will have a major impact on the economy of the area. By the third year of operation it could generate over $63.2 million for the Kentucky economy.

      The Heritage Monument will be a jobs generator. A total of 1,335 would be created in Kentucky. Wolfe County would receive 380 jobs from visitor spending alone. The contiguous counties will benefit from the addition of 356 jobs. Direct spending outside the immediate area will add 211 jobs in other Kentucky counties.

      The Heritage Monument will be a tax generator. The $63.2 million in spending would include $6.5 million in state tax revenues and nearly $1 million in local taxes.

      The Heritage Monument facility financial forecast for the first three years of operation concluded that the facility could operate in the black during the second year provided that the grant, admission fee, marketing, and other key assumptions are achieved.

      The Monument is projected to draw 282,500 visitors the first year; 529,700 the second year and 706,300 the third full year of operation.

      The recommended site is approximately 30 acres located between the divergence of the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway and KY 15. This point is the true “Gateway to Eastern Kentucky.”

Points of Interest

The development of an attraction of this magnitude could change the tourism landscape of Eastern Kentucky. The structure alone could generate substantial visitation to the region. The Heritage Monument in tandem with the interpretive center/museum, which will link it with the historically significant music and art of Eastern Kentucky, could increase visitation to the site as well as the larger geographic region surrounding it several fold. It could become the Magnet Attraction the region has long needed to make it a more viable tourism destination.

The focal point of the project is of course the creation of the Wind Harp (Aeolian Harp)- three sculptures up to seventy feet tall representing traditional Appalachian musical instruments (guitar, fiddle banjo) made of stainless steel. Once developed the sculpture will be the largest Wind Harp in the world. Not only will it be renowned as an international piece of sculpture it will bring world attention to the culture and heritage of Appalachian Kentucky.

The Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument has overwhelming support from all of the educational, cultural and, most importantly, the political entities of the area.

The foremost challenge to the further development of local tourism is to educate potential travelers of the uniqueness of Eastern Kentucky through properly positioned and targeted tourism promotion. The Heritage Monument would be an important asset in this effort since it would aid the region in overcoming the weakness of not having enough sightseeing options. As such, it would contribute to the improvement of Eastern Kentucky’s image among potential travelers to the region. It is important to note that on three of the top five Travel Motivators- exciting, family atmosphere, and scenery- Eastern Kentucky is highly rated by its tourists. This gives the area an advantage over competitor destinations.

It is recommended that the project be managed by a combination of two entities, one the non-profit Appalachian Heritage Alliance and one a public agency- Wolfe County Economic Development Office.

The Heritage Monument and its Center would be strategically located in the center of this (Eastern Kentucky) network of artisan/craft shopping outlets. (It would serve to link and advertise all other regional markets.)

Economic Impact of Proposed

Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument

(from Table 1, pg. 14 of the report)

Monument generated:

Total Expenditures in Kentucky:        $63,221,280

Direct Expenditures:           $38,691,114

Indirect Expenditures:         $24,530,166

Where Expenditures Occur


Wolfe County


Breathitt County

$ 2,052,177

Lee County

$ 2,142,714

Magoffin County

$ 1,901,281

Menifee County

$ 1,358,058

Morgan County

$ 1,327,879

Powell County

$ 5,854,739

Other KY Counties

$ 8,512,045


Total Number of Jobs Created:              1,335

(from) Direct Expenditures:             947

(from) Indirect Expenditures:          388

Where Jobs Occur


Wolfe County 380
Breathitt County 50
Lee County 52
Magoffin County   46
Menifee County 33
Morgan County 32
Powell County 143
Other KY Counties 211


Total State and Local Taxes:        $6,546,737

State Taxes:     $5,551,369

Local Taxes:      $995,368